30 Foods Pregnant Women Should Not Eat

18. Grapes There are two main reasons that a lot of people believe that grapes are dangerous for pregnant women. The first one is the number… Simi - December 12, 2018

18. Grapes

There are two main reasons that a lot of people believe that grapes are dangerous for pregnant women. The first one is the number of pesticides used on grapes to prevent them from being infested by bugs. Trace amounts of these pesticides may remain on the skin of the grapes despite thorough washing. Pesticides are made using several harmful chemicals. While not necessarily dangerous in small quantities, there is a chance they could affect the fetus.

The second reason is the presence of resveratrol in red grapes. The chemical compound is a known anti-oxidant and the reason that moderate red wine consumption is said to have so many benefits. Animal studies have shown that resveratrol does improve blood flow to the fetus which is positive. However, the studies also indicate that pancreatic problems may develop in pregnant women who consume too much resveratrol. The pancreatic problems could lead to conditions such as diabetes.

17. Pineapple

Delicious pineapple is packed with wholesome, nutritious vitamins and minerals which is why many people would assume they would be good for a pregnant woman. However, lurking in the pineapple is a substance called bromelain. Pineapple is the only known significant source of this enzyme. Under normal circumstances, bromelain is good for the human body. It helps to reduce inflammation and is an excellent post-operative treatment to aid the healing process.

The reason bromelain should be avoided during pregnancy is that it can lead to the softening of the cervix. The cervix begins to soften during the end of the pregnancy and is a precursor to the onset of labor contractions. The cervix needs to soften so that it can dilate sufficiently for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Early cervical softening can lead to premature labor. Babies born prematurely are at a far greater risk of health complications than those carried to full term.

16. Cabbage and lettuce

Both cabbage and lettuce are green vegetables that are made up of several layers of leaves. Cabbage is generally cooked before being served, while lettuce is typically served raw. Pregnant women should avoid eating raw cabbage. There is a risk that it can carry bacteria such as listeria. Food-borne diseases are caused by bacteria. Cabbage is known for carrying them. Cabbage should be cooked before eating. Coleslaw salad is made with raw cabbage and should be avoided.

Lettuce has a similar problem to cabbage in that it can carry bacteria. Both vegetables are prone to infestation by fungi and insects. They are treated with fungicides and pesticides to protect them while they are growing. These substances are made from potentially harmful chemicals. Residual traces may remain on the leaves after harvesting and packaging. Extensive rinsing and washing of lettuce are recommended before consuming it.

15. Eggplant

The eggplant is more commonly known as aubergine or brinjal. The glossy fruit has a rich, deep purple colored skin which is glossy. Eggplant is rich in vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. It is a definite favorite among vegetarians. Eggplants have many benefits. They are good for the immune system, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and digestive system. All these benefits are good for expectant moms as pregnancy can affect all four. The high levels of vitamins and minerals mean that eggplant can be good for the development of the baby.

But there is a chance the eggplant can do more harm than good during pregnancy. It contains a lot of phytohormones. The phytohormones trigger menstruation which could lead to a miscarriage or premature delivery. Eggplant can also increase the acidity levels in the body. The result is heartburn and indigestion which can cause a lot of discomforts.

14. Store-bought and restaurant salads

Pregnant women should preferably eat salads that are prepared at home. There is a greater chance of bacterial infection when eating salads ordered at a restaurant or bought at a store. The first risk is that the fruits and vegetables may not have been washed properly. Avoid processed meats such as ham during pregnancy as they are known to carry bacteria such as listeria.

A lot of salad dressings contain raw egg. Raw and under cooked eggs can carry the salmonella bacteria. Many salads include raw sprouts which are also inclined to carry bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. Unless you have access to a full list of the ingredients used in the salad, it’s best to avoid eating it. For the duration of the pregnancy, women should make and eat salads at home so that they can be sure no harmful ingredients are present.

13. Unpasteurized fruit juices

Like milk, fruit and vegetable juices should be pasteurized. This involves heating the juices to high temperatures and allowing them to cool down. The reasons for pasteurizing juices are the same as that for pasteurizing milk. The process kills off any bacteria in the liquid that can cause an infection.

There is a good chance that unpasteurized juices contain salmonella and E. coli. Both bacteria can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting which puts the baby at risk. There are many cases in which E. coli infections have been fatal. Unpasteurized juices may also contain botulism. This neurotoxin can cause impairment of the nervous system causing nerve transmission problems. The presence of Cryptosporidium can lead to severe diarrhea. Pregnant women should check that the juices they buy are pasteurized. Juices made at home can be pasteurized by allowing them to boil for a minute or two and then cool down.

12. Excessive amounts of caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant. It causes the heart rate and blood pressure to rise and gives the consumer an energy boost. Caffeine is also a diuretic. This means that increases the frequency at which the body expels urine. Caffeine may not do the pregnant mother’s body much harm, but it is not good for the baby at all. Caffeine is not confined to coffee. It is present in tea, chocolate, and some sodas.

Caffeine moves from the mother’s body to the fetus via the blood. A baby’s body is as yet unable to metabolize caffeine. As pregnancy progresses, excessive caffeine consumption may stimulate the baby’s movement patterns in the womb. The baby’s sleep patterns may also be interrupted by too much caffeine. There is a suggestion based on animal studies that excessive use of caffeine can result in low birth weight. Pregnant moms should not ingest more than 200mg of caffeine daily.

11. Herbal supplements and teas

There are many herbs out there that are good for the body and its overall well-being. Under normal circumstances, taking herbal supplements and drinking herbal teas is good for you. The effect of herbs on the pregnant body is different. Consult a doctor about the herbal supplements and teas you want to use.

In general, herbal teas are made from the bark, leaves, seeds — berries, roots, and flowers of certain plants. However, there are some that pregnant women should use with caution. Chamomile tea is used to help one calm down and alleviates insomnia. There is a chance the tea might stimulate uterine contractions which will result in miscarriage or premature labor. Nettle-leaf tea is also associated with uterine contractions. It is included in many ‘pregnancy teas,’ so expectant mothers should read the labels of the products they buy. Dandelion tea has a strong diuretic function which is not good for pregnant women.

10. Canned foods and beverages

Food and beverage cans are made from aluminum, tinplate which is steel coated with tin, or tin-free steel. Most cans are lined with a resin to protect the lining. The resin coating contains BPA. BPA is bisphenol-A which is a dangerous substance. The BPA easily finds its way into the can’s contents. From there, it’s easy to get into the bloodstream. Pregnant women should avoid exposing their bodies to BPA as it can have devastating consequences for their babies.

BPA disrupts the endocrine system. This system is responsible for the secretion of hormones into the body. During pregnancy, the endocrine system is working harder than ever to maintain the healthy development of the fetus. BPA throws the endocrine system out of balance by mimicking its hormones. There is growing evidence that high levels of BPA in pregnant women can affect the brain development of a baby. This has behavioral and developmental implications.

9. Foods rich in nitrates

In a normal diet, excessive consumption of nitrates should be avoided, while moderate consumption is acceptable. During pregnancy, the expectant mother should remember that she shares what she eats with her unborn baby. The nitrates in the food are passed to the baby through the placenta. Foods that are rich in nitrates include cured, processed, and smoked meats. Sodium nitrate is used in large quantities to preserve the food and make it last longer. Sodium nitrate also gives processed meats, sausages, and hotdogs their pink color.

Another reason sodium nitrate is used is the fact that it prevents botulism. Botulism is a neurotoxin that can lead to neurological disruptions in the body. Upon consuming nitrates, the body converts them into nitrosamines. Studies have had conflicting results, although one found a higher incidence of brain tumors in babies whose mothers had eaten a lot of nitrates during pregnancy.

8. Foods rich in sugar

The stereotype of the pregnancy craving is eating lots of cakes, cookies, and chocolate. While it’s true you might develop a bit of a sweet tooth during pregnancy, try not to go overboard. Too much sugar can mean health complications for both mother and baby. First, too much sugar adds to the regular discomforts caused by pregnancy such as constipation, indigestion, and heartburn.

Additionally, eating too much sugar increases the risk of gestational diabetes. Untreated, the raised blood sugar levels in the mother’s blood pass to the baby. Gestational diabetes can be treated but preferably avoided. The condition can also increase the risk of early labor. There is also an increased chance the mother may develop preeclampsia. This is a dangerous rise in blood pressure which has severe implications for both mother and child. The baby might also be born with a metabolic condition owing to the raised blood sugar levels.

7. Food cart meals

There’s nothing better than that hot dog, pretzel, or burger from your favorite street vendor for lunch. However, aside from the heartburn, these meals may cause, there are additional risks. There is an increased chance that the mother may develop infections and gastrointestinal illnesses.

This is because the food is not always prepared under the most hygienic of standards. The presence of any bacteria is a risk for a pregnant mother whose immune system is weakened while she’s carrying a child. Food that has not been correctly stored or prepared is full of bacteria. Usually, the body can fight off such bacteria. But the body is not functioning as normal during pregnancy. Anything that a pregnant woman eats or drinks is passed onto her baby. Foods that are too spicy might cause both mother and unborn child digestive discomfort. It’s better to avoid such foods during pregnancy.

6. Foods rich in fat

Trans-fats lurk in many of the foods a pregnant mother craves. They are present in fast foods, processed meals, takeaways, fried foods, and margarine. While these foods need not be avoided completely, it is best to limit their intake during pregnancy. Trans-fats are fatty acids that are a byproduct of the hydrogenation process. This is a chemical process that causes liquid oils to solidify. The result is a longer shelf life and increased flavor.

Excessive consumption of trans-fats results in weight gain that can lead to obesity. There is also the risk of high blood pressure and heart conditions. Trans-fats can also cause the fetus to grow to a bigger-than-average size which can complicate a natural delivery. Not all fats are bad for a pregnant mother. Omega 3 and six fats are present in fish, nuts, avocados, and olives. They are good for mother and baby alike provided she consumes them in moderate quantities.

5. Foods that contain artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners replace natural sugars and add a sweet taste to foods. Do not assume that a product labeled sugar-free is good for you. While the sugar has been removed, something must have been added to maintain the flavor. Enter the artificial sweetener. Of all the artificial sweeteners, aspartame is one of the riskiest. It is a sugar substitute in diet sodas. There are people whose bodies cannot process phenylalanine which is found in aspartame.

This is the result of a condition called phenylketonuria. The body’s inability to process phenylalanine can result in fetal congenital disabilities. Saccharin is another well-known artificial sweetener. It is called benzoic sulfimide and is far sweeter than glucose. Many candies, cookies, and medicines are sweetened with saccharin. Expectant mothers should read the labels of the food and beverages they consume. This allows them to make an informed decision about the artificial sweeteners they ingest.

4. Excessive intake of certain vitamins and minerals

Some vitamins and minerals should be increased during pregnancy. These include folic acid. Taking folic acid early on in the pregnancy reduces the risk of spina bifida. Iron and calcium intake should also increase given that the mother must supply her own body and that of the fetus with these two minerals.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, and too much can be dangerous. Excess amounts of Vitamin A that the body doesn’t need are not expelled. Instead, the liver stores them. Continually rising amounts can lead to liver damage and could cause birth defects in the baby. Vitamin E is also a fat-soluble compound so excessive intake should be avoided. The potential harm of too much Vitamin E is stomach pains and early rupture of the amniotic sac in which the baby is growing. Take a good pregnancy supplement recommended by a doctor.

3. Homemade treats

While preparing your food to control the ingredients is a good idea, there are some things a pregnant mother should avoid. One of them is cookie dough. As tempting as it may be, cookie dough should be avoided. It may contain bacteria which could lead to an infection affecting both mother and child. That’s in addition to the high volumes of sugar in the cookies. The same is true for icing. The odd slice of cake won’t do any harm but avoid the batter, and the icing.

Be careful when eating homemade ice-cream. There is also an increased risk of bacterial infections. Cream spoils easily, and bacteria begin to grow inside it. With a decreased immune system, a mother-to-be is vulnerable to infection. Buy cookies and other treats from reputable brands as they follow stringent health standards. These protect the pregnant mom from any undesirable bacteria.

2. Licorice treats

Studies have found that the best thing a pregnant woman can do when it comes to licorice is to avoid it altogether.  There is an ingredient in black licorice that can cause damage to a baby’s brain. A study in Finland found that the children of women who ate lots of licorice while pregnant had lower IQ levels. On average, IQ levels were seven points lower. Also, girls tend to enter puberty earlier if their mothers ate a lot of licorice while pregnant.

The compound in licorice that causes the problem is glycyrrhizin. This substance prevents the activity of a specific enzyme needed during pregnancy. The enzyme protects the fetus from being exposed to excessive amounts of cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body of a fetus can cause disruptions to its neurological development. The study did not indicate how much licorice is safe which is why pregnant moms should avoid it.

1. Leftover foods

The minute food is exposed to room temperature, and bacteria begin to form and multiply. After two hours there is a virtual guarantee that bacteria are present. A bacterial infection such as salmonella, E. coli, or listeriosis can have negative consequences for both mother and baby. Pregnant women are susceptible to infection due to their compromised immune systems.

Store leftover food in the fridge as soon as it has cooled down. Pack leftovers in potion-sized containers. Remove them from the fridge and reheated them thoroughly before eating. Heating leftovers to high temperatures destroy any bacteria that may be present. Do not reheat food, allow it to cool down, and then reheat it again. This increases the risk of food poisoning which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. In the interests of safety, pregnant women should stick to freshly prepared foods. If eating leftovers, exercise caution to prevent infection.